Andrea Scannell, mom of two, recently received a neatly-typed letter from principal Michael Monson, who works at Mount Logan Middle School in Logan, Utah. The letter stated that due to complaints from other patrons of the summer lunch program, she needs to find a way to "more discreetly" feed her baby.
Scannell participates in a state-funded program that provides lunch to kids from ages 1 to 18 during the summer. It's hosted by the middle school and she and her family enjoy going with their 3-year-old son and 6-month-old daughter. On this particular day, she was nursing her little girl, but was soon caught off guard when she was approached by lunchroom staff carrying a sealed envelope.
In the letter, Monson outlines the fact that children of all ages are present at the summer lunch program, as well as other adults who have a "variety of personal views and views on raising their own children." He asks her to use a small blanket or find another place to nurse her infant.
She tells me that she had no idea anyone had any issue with her nursing, and as you can see by the photo she provided SheKnows, you can't even really tell that she's breastfeeding at all. "I was very flustered when it was given to me," she explains. "I just never expected anyone to have an issue with me feeding my baby while everyone is there to feed their children. Why can't mine eat?"
The only way women will be able to feed their babies unencumbered in public is if folks become accustomed to seeing babies nurse directly from the breast. Raising the comfort level starts from childhood. Are parents afraid their child will see a woman feeding her baby and are worried about how to explain it? "She was feeding her baby," is a good place to start, and say it without judgment or disgust. And then that child grows up and won't give a nursing woman a second look.
This is where moms like Scannell come in. She says in going public with her story, she hopes to raise awareness, not shame the principal or the school. "Utah law has protections but it doesn't have enforcements," she says. "This needs to change. I'm standing up for every breastfeeding mother out there who can't stand up for herself for whatever reason."
Scannell and a handful of other mothers staged a nurse-in today at the school to help bring the challenges she's experiencing to light. I reached out to Mount Logan Middle School for a statement, but their phones aren't being answered due to summer break.
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